Well last year I had a difficult time keeping this page up to date so we are trying a new approach. I will continue to publish postings on each event with details and I am going to link those postings to a Google Calendar which you can access below.


Colonial Tavern Night — March 26

Experience the ambiance of a colonial-era tavern in Philadelphia when Fort Mifflin hosts the Cannonball Tavern, complete with authentic beverages and hearty tavern fare, tavern games, the warm glow of a cozy fire and the company of civilians and soldiers of the era. 


Learn to Survey like George Washington
— April 9

The first surveyors in America arrived with the Jamestown Company in 1621. Given the goal of quickly settling Virginia and the vagaries of Royal Charters for Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolina colonies, surveyors were critical to establishing order in the colonies.

The role of the surveyor was to transfer land from the crown to private ownership. The survey was completed using a compass on a staff, called a Jacob’s Staff, and a 33′ Gunter’ chain. It was the responsibility of the buyer to be the pilot, showing the land’s boundary to the surveyor and to hire two chain carriers. Once the fieldwork was completed, the surveyor drew a plat and wrote a description of the property. The survey plat and description were copied and entered into the county survey book, and the originals were sent to the Governor. Upon entry of the warrant with survey plat and description, the Secretary of State issued a land patent signed by the governor and marked with the colony’s seal.

Later as significant municipal buildings like Faneuil Hall, the Pennsylvania Statehouse, Carpenters Hall, and significant manor homes like Mt Vernon and built, it was critical that detailed and clear surveys were prepared to aid the architect not only in the design but also in the ultimate construction of these buildings.

During the Revolutionary War, George Washington, himself well-schooled in surveying, commissioned a battalion of surveyors and geographers to map the terrain ahead of the army. A knowledge of the terrain, location of roads, fords, and various other aspects of the land was vital to the ability to effectively move the army and wage war.

This will be an interactive program where participants are encouraged to employ the tools and techniques of the 18th Century Surveyor and actively measure a section of Fort Mifflin Participants will be allowed to site lines using the compass and range poles. hey will be allowed to measure those lines using the Gunter’s chain as well as measure splines off that lines for irregular boundaries. Finally, participants will be encouraged to use these measurements to draw maps and write property descriptions (which they may take away)


Mortimer Boddy Dies at the Barnes Tavern
— April 16

Mortimer Boddy is using the ongoing charter and boundary conflict (1730’s) between Maryland and Pennsylvania in order to conduct a land swindle. He has sold a worthless title to land currently owned by Fredrick Dupe to James Stooge for 50£ . Three men have come to the Barns Tavern settle their grievances with Mr. Boddy, Herr Stooge, Herr Dupe, and Mr. Clarke (the surveyor). Unfortunately, they discover that Mr. Boddy has been murdered! While no one will mourn the loss of Mr. Boddy and even though we all feel he got his just reward for swindling so many people, we cannot allow vigilante justice in our community. Your job is to identify our killer and inform the Militia so that they may be apprehended.

The charters of the colonies of Maryland and Pennsylvania were intentionally vague. Both colonies, were issued charters for the SAME land and since both charters were issued to religious orders that the Crown would rather see go away (Catholics and Quakers), the King and Parliament are not eager to help settle the dispute. It is, perhaps, unfair to say the Crown instigated the Conjoncular Wars but they certainly did nothing to quell them. Meanwhile, various “entrepreneurs” will attempt to make money off the dispute.

Borders and boundaries were critical during colonial times. When King Charles allocated land to William Penn, he issued charter for land that was initially allocated to Maryland and Delaware. King Charles’s error gave colonial Pennsylvania and Maryland legitimate claims to a large land area between the 39th and 40th parallels. This resulted in many conflicting claims and the Conjocular, AKA Cresap War, was a set of battles between the Calvert family of Maryland and the Penns of Pennsylvania. Hostilities lasted for over eight years, predominately in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Eventually, the border violence between the colonial settlers became tiresome, and the British crown stepped in to restore peace. The British crown ordered Frederick Calvert, 6th Baron of Baltimore, to accept the 1732 agreement that renounced the Calvert claim to Delaware.

Our story begins in March of 1732 when a land speculator named Mortimer Boddy contracts with a local surveyor, William Clarke, to sell title to lands he does not own. The land in question is titled to one Herr Fredrick Dupe of Chester County Pennsylvania, or is it Chester County Maryland depending on the jurisdiction you favor. Mr. Boddy has drawn up a bill of sale deeding the land to Herr Johanne Stooge for the princely sum of 50£. The surveyor, however, is having issues executing the deed and has asked Mr. Boddy to meet with him at the Barns Tavern.

Everyone involved in this transaction, except Mr. Boddy, has become suspicious. Herr Dupe knows he has no intention of selling his land. Herr Stooge is confused as to where the land is, if it’s not Herr Dupe’s farm then where is it? The surveyor has found that the records and claims that Mr. Boddy provided are not valid. These three men met at the new Philadelphia Statehouse and eventually agreed to sue Mr. Boddy, his estate and heirs, for damages they incurred in this transaction. They are now all agreed to confront Mr. Boddy at the Barns Tavern and apprehend him, dragging him bodily to Philadelphia or Annapolis (or both) to face justice.

Upon arriving at the Barns Tavern, they learned there is no Mortimer Boddy staying here, only a Hyster Shyster who has claimed “William Clarke” as his guarantor and run up a huge bill. When they go to find this Hyster Shyster, he is nowhere to be found. Later that evening, however, the housekeeper discovers the body of Mr. Boddy (aka Hyster Shyster) murdered in the attic bedroom.

Who killed him, why, how? Most importantly, where is Herr Stooges 50£?


Brewing Class at Ft Mifflin Heritage Skills and Trades Craft Fair — May 7

Join the Regimental Brewmeister for a unique opportunity to experience the art and craft of 18th century brewing. This class will mash he grain, brew the mash over the fire in true 18th century fashion and sample some beer previously brewed in this same manner.

Learn about beer’s place at the early American table and what really happened in colonial taverns.

Wear work clothes and bring leather gloves. This workshop takes place outside so dress appropriately.

Attendance strictly limited to assure social distancing and the opportunity for everyone to try their hand at the process.

Price will be $75/person and this will include more Colonial Beer than you should drink.. If you’ve never attended one of our Colonial Brewing Classes you are missing a real treat. At the demonstrations, I prepare beer and all you get to do is observe. In our brewing classes, YOU ARE THE BREWER, and we coach.

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Today’s event is also a Heritage Skills and Trades Fair so during the brewing downtime (watching the pot doesn’t make it boil faster), you will have the opportunity to visit other artisans and learn from them as well. 


Colonial Scientist for Homeschoolers
— May 13

While we all know the ramification of Enlightenment thinking on politics in the 18th Century, it also had a profound and seminal effect on science. Prior to the Enlightenment, scientific thought, when it could be separated from theology, was dominated by theories of absolute truth but over the course of the 16th and 17th Centuries this absolutism began to be replaced by modern empirical observation and experimentation. The world doesn’t work as it does because it should, or because of supernatural forces, but rather it follows series of natural laws. Rocks don’t fall to the earth because, as Plato argued, they belong to the earth; they fall because, as Newton observed, objects are attracted to each other in proportion to their mass and inverse proportion to their distance separation [squared]. God, if involved at all in the process at all, is the author of laws that govern the universe, not the prime mover who physically controls each particle. This subtle shift in focus and explosion of scientific inquiry and the creation of the “gentleman scientist.

My impression is to be an exemplar of the “Gentleman Scientist.” One who corresponds widely with others who are exploiting this new “scientific method” to challenge to challenge the status quo on EVERYTHING from physics to politics, one who conducts a wide variety of scientific investigations, and one who focuses on shifting our understanding of how the world works from folklore and tradition to mathematical scientific “laws.”

Demonstrations:
— Two sealed fermenters (one inoculated) with airlocks ➔ an experiment challenging spontaneous generation
— Reproduction of Joseph Priestley’s experiments discovering the element Oxygen and challenging the conventional wisdom and Theories of Phlogiston.
— Demonstration of the use of a nautical sextant to measure angles and a discussion of how with just a sextant to measure latitude, Mr. Thacker’s newly invented chronometer (1714) to measure longitude, one can accurately determine their exact location on the earth.
— Discussion of the 1769 observations of the Transit of Venus with an explanation of “big science” in the 18th Century and how these data allowed the Royal Academy to compute the distance of the Earth from the Sun.
— Display and demonstration of various computing devices used by scientists and surveyors in the 18th Century.


Would You REALLY be a Patriot or a Loyalist if You Lived in Philadelphia in 1777?
— July 2

Long before actually hostilities began, there were Americans who were not happy with the way Britain was administering its colonies and felt that they were being treated unfairly. There were also, however, large groups of people who thrived both economically and socially as citizens of the British Empire with its vast trading networks, strong military, and (for the time) significant personal freedoms. Choosing a side during the American Revolution was not a simple task and during the early days of the war, there were no indications as to how this conflict would eventually conclude.

From the safety of knowing the final outcome of the war 250 years ago, nearly everyone is convinced they would have taken up arms with the Continental Army and rebelled against the Crown. It was certainly not so simple in 1777. Rebelling against the King and Parliament was treason and being even accused of treason could result in forfeiture of property and potential execution. Of course, when the protection of the British Army was withdrawn, loyalty to the Crown would be viewed by the American Forces as treasonous to THEIR cause, and similar penalties could ensue. Not surprisingly, a huge percentage of the population sided with the army that was in control of their local area, flying the Patriot Colors when the Continental Army marched through and then the Union Jack when the British came.

According to John Adams about a third of the American population was in favor and another third opposed to independence from Great Brittan. Later historians wanted to number the Loyalist at only 20% but clearly the majority of Americans either opposed or took no stand regarding the outcome of the war. Most just wanted it to go away so they could live their lives. Choosing sides could have dire consequences as both the American and British armies (particularly their quartermasters) frequently punished people who they found to have strong pollical leaning against their causes. This leaves the average person in a perilous position, where do you stand? Do you support the noble experiments proposed by Thomas Paine and the Continental Congress; or do you stand with the King and face the wrath of the Sons of Liberty? Do you profess your loyalty to the Crown and welcome General Howe’s Army or do you flee and lose everything? If you flee and the American Army loses, you will lose everything. If you stay and welcome the Crown Forces, you may also lose when they leave. What do you do? Who can you trust?

Come join us at Fort Mifflin as we explore the complexities of choosing sides. We will have an honest and frank discussion of the motivations and consequences of being loyal to the King, loyal to Congress, or taking neither side (which can be even more perilous). Sign your Loyalty Oath and try not to get caught and punished by the opposition.

Program Elements:

  • Loyalty Oaths
  • Opportunities to engage with Rebels and Loyalist and discuss why they made their choice.
  • (Mock) trials and punishments for captured loyalist or patriots by the opposing forces
  • Spies, saboteurs, and guerrillas
  • Public debates (Patriot side) on the merits appeasing and reconciling with the Crown vs rebellion
  • Frank discussion of some of the myths around our justification for rebellion

Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence
— July 4


Daily Life in 18th Century — July 23


Jeffersonian Dinner — “REMEMBER THE LADIES”
— Aug 5

“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

Abigale Adams in letter to John 1787

Come join us as we discuss the history of Women’s rights and the many restrictions and prohibitions that were historically levied against them. What would have been the implications had Congress Assembled followed Abigail’s advice to “remember the ladies” in 1787 and granted full rights of citizenship under the Constitution to both men and women?


Learn to Survey like George Washington
— Aug 13

The first surveyors in America arrived with the Jamestown Company in 1621. Given the goal of quickly settling Virginia and the vagaries of Royal Charters for Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolina colonies, surveyors were critical to establishing order in the colonies.

The role of the surveyor was to transfer land from the crown to private ownership. The survey was completed using a compass on a staff, called a Jacob’s Staff, and a 33′ Gunter’ chain. It was the responsibility of the buyer to be the pilot, showing the land’s boundary to the surveyor and to hire two chain carriers. Once the fieldwork was completed, the surveyor drew a plat and wrote a description of the property. The survey plat and description were copied and entered into the county survey book, and the originals were sent to the Governor. Upon entry of the warrant with survey plat and description, the Secretary of State issued a land patent signed by the governor and marked with the colony’s seal.

Later as significant municipal buildings like Faneuil Hall, the Pennsylvania Statehouse, Carpenters Hall, and significant manor homes like Mt Vernon and built, it was critical that detailed and clear surveys were prepared to aid the architect not only in the design but also in the ultimate construction of these buildings.

During the Revolutionary War, George Washington, himself well-schooled in surveying, commissioned a battalion of surveyors and geographers to map the terrain ahead of the army. A knowledge of the terrain, location of roads, fords, and various other aspects of the land was vital to the ability to effectively move the army and wage war.

This will be an interactive program where participants are encouraged to employ the tools and techniques of the 18th Century Surveyor and actively measure a section of Fort Mifflin Participants will be allowed to site lines using the compass and range poles. hey will be allowed to measure those lines using the Gunter’s chain as well as measure splines off that lines for irregular boundaries. Finally, participants will be encouraged to use these measurements to draw maps and write property descriptions (which they may take away).


Brewing Class — Learn to Brew Like a Colonial — Aug 20

Join the Regimental Brewmeister for a unique opportunity to experience the art and craft of 18th century brewing. This class will mash he grain, brew the mash over the fire in true 18th century fashion and sample some beer previously brewed in this same manner.

Learn about beer’s place at the early American table and what really happened in colonial taverns.

Wear work clothes and bring leather gloves. This workshop takes place outside so dress appropriately.

Attendance strictly limited to assure social distancing and the opportunity for everyone to try their hand at the process.

Price will be $75/person and this will include more Colonial Beer than you should drink.. If you’ve never attended one of our Colonial Brewing Classes you are missing a real treat. At the demonstrations, I prepare beer and all you get to do is observe. In our brewing classes, YOU ARE THE BREWER, and we coach.


Colonial Scientist at Fort Mifflin – Transit of Venus — Sept 10

While we all know the ramification of Enlightenment thinking on politics in the 18th Century, it also had a profound and seminal effect on science. Prior to the Enlightenment, scientific thought, when it could be separated from theology, was dominated by theories of absolute truth but over the course of the 16th and 17th Centuries this absolutism began to be replaced by modern empirical observation and experimentation. The world doesn’t work as it does because it should, or because of supernatural forces, but rather it follows series of natural laws. Rocks don’t fall to the earth because, as Plato argued, they belong to the earth; they fall because, as Newton observed, objects are attracted to each other in proportion to their mass and inverse proportion to their distance separation [squared]. God, if involved at all in the process at all, is the author of laws that govern the universe, not the prime mover who physically controls each particle. This subtle shift in focus and explosion of scientific inquiry and the creation of the “gentleman scientist.

My impression is to be an exemplar of the “Gentleman Scientist.” One who corresponds widely with others who are exploiting this new “scientific method” to challenge to challenge the status quo on EVERYTHING from physics to politics, one who conducts a wide variety of scientific investigations, and one who focuses on shifting our understanding of how the world works from folklore and tradition to mathematical scientific “laws.”


Colonial Tavern during Siege Weekend
— Nov 12-13

Colonial Brewer will become Admiral of the Blue Apron yet again and host a loyalist tavern. Experience the ambiance of a colonial-era tavern during the Siege of Fort Mifflin complete with authentic beverages and hearty tavern fare, tavern games, the warm glow of a cozy fire and the company of civilians and the King’s finest soldiers. You may even meet a pirate or two…

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